Bob Haas, owner of Silver City Coins and Collectibles in Brookings, has been robbed again — and this time, he’s not sure if he can rebound from the incident.
Early Thanksgiving morning, one or more individuals gained access to his shop located off a hallway behind Town and Country Real Estate by using a crowbar to break through two locked and dead-bolted doors to steal coins.
“Unfortunately, the bottom door to the back parking lot had been left open,” Haas said. “That made it a lot easier to get in. The door between the stairs and the common hallway was locked and bolted and mine was locked and deadbolted. They destroyed the whole door.”
Haas said the perpetrators made off with tens of thousands of dollars worth of collectible coins, including Buffalo nickels, Mercury dimes, Morgan and Peace silver dollars and Standing Liberty quarters.
They also stole his back-stock of silver dollars, worth from $7,000 to $10,000 per box, and then into an antique cabinet where he kept his one-, five- and 10-ounce silver bars, police said.
“All my coin displays; all of those coins are gone,” he said. “All my 14 karat jewelry, my 90 percent silver — the stuff that’s the meat and potatoes of my business. I have nothing left to sell. I haven’t even started to compute the amount of loss.”
Many of the coins are in thin-cardboard display containers stapled together in a unique style Haas uses, with staples at 2, 5 and 7 o’clock.
To make matters worse, Haas was unable to find anyone to repair the doors over the holiday — and the thieves returned the following night, he said.
“They had the audacity to come back and take other stuff they’d missed the first time,” he said.
It’s definitely unfortunate,” said K9 officer Zane Van Zelf. “We have a couple of leads we’re working on and some evidence to send off; hopefully we’ll get a positive outcome in the near future.”
His specialty is in coins, but his store also features antiques, such as newspapers dating from the Civil War, Carnival glassware, sports cards, and other vintage collectibles.
“It’s a great place to shop,” he said. “There’s something for everyone. But now … I can’t retire on what I have left.”
None of the items were insured, either, because regular business insurance doesn’t cover such valuables — and a policy that would runs about $5,000 a month, he said.
Haas moved — for security reasons — from a store a block away after he was robbed in July 2017.
There, thieves broke in by tearing a hole through an unreinforced wall, Haas said. At the time, he thought it might have been someone who had recently been in or worked on the building, but police, acting on a tip, arrested a Colorado couple and recovered the stolen goods, estimated at $157,000.
He had security cameras in that building, but the two perpetrators were wearing hoodies and the cameras didn’t catch their faces on film, he said. Also, a security system set up to alert police failed.
Haas alerted pawn shops up and down the coast and in the Rogue Valley in case someone brought in the stolen items; police said an article in the Pilot prompted someone to submit a tip that led to the arrest of the thieves. One of them garnered a one-year stint in prison.
Haas, who is offering a $1,000 reward for the return of the coins, said he hopes his luck holds out a second time.
“I’ve cast a wide net out there,” Haas said “I like to say I have a lot of friends in high places, and I have a lot of friends in low places. I know everyone from the homeless to the mayor.”
If tips don’t pan out and the coins aren’t recovered, Haas said he’s not sure what he’s going to do, other than continue his work for a moving company.
“I was doing this in retirement; this is a lifelong hobby,” he said. “I don’t know if I can rebuild. If I don’t get it back, I don’t know. There’s not a lot of profit in coins, and I couldn’t make that kind of money again before I died. I don’t know if I want to rebuild. I don’t know if I can continue.”
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Zane Van Zelf at the Brookings Police Department at 541-469-3118, or Haas at 541-373-1266.